Back to the Grind

Täby Church
Täby Church

When I last wrote, I was attending the INQUA congress in Japan. But as fun as conferences are, you have to return to the real world and get back to work! At the moment for me, that means going back to Stockholm Sweden. For those who don’t know what this means, here is what it is like:

1) Post conference high

A conference is an exciting time, where you get to meet people who care about what you are doing. This is great to motivate you, as when you are back in your department, there may only be a handful of people who are working on things that are directly relevant to what you are doing. As such, coming back from the conference means having a much greater desire to work. Productivity levels peak just after a conference. For me, this meant finally putting together a bunch of stuff I did in my PHD, and getting it into a format that is suitable for publication. At the conference, you hear lots of people who are anticipating your work and it just feels great to get it done.

2) Jetlag

One thing that I have had to adjust to during the past five years is jetlag. When you fly 1/3 of the way around the world, there is a big jump in the time. So, which is better, going west or going east? To be quite honest, it doesn’t really make a difference. The main difference is when you arrive at your destination. It is hardest to recover from jetlag when you arrive at your destination early in the morning, I find. When I flew back to Stockholm, I got to my destination around 8 PM. By the time I got organized, I went to bed at 10 PM, and got up around 7 AM, which is just perfect. In Japan, this period of time would be when I was awake. Being able to sleep all through the night in the new time zone means recovering fast from jetlag, which for me was about three days.

3) Moving

In the past ten years, I have moved so many times, I have lost track. Luckily for me, I had a place lined up before I went to Japan. I now live north of Stockholm, in the lovely town of Täby Kyrka (pronounced “sheerka”). I live a few minutes from this idyllic Medieval church (see picture above), which was built in 13th century. I definitely will have to plan a visit. But yeah, moving sucks, but it is something you have to get used to if you want to live the life as an academic scientist.

4) Life in Sweden

Those who know me know that I’ve had a bit of a tough go of it in Sweden. This is definitely a hard place to adjust to if you don’t already know someone, or you don’t come with someone. And even though most people can speak fluent English, it is a bit hard to make connections without knowing Swedish. At the moment, I am set to be here until the end of November, and I am sure it will be better than that time period last year. In August, very few people are in Stockholm, and as they are on summer vacation. As papers start getting pushed out and the leaves start to fall, I anticipate that life will become easier. Though summer has it’s perks, like this “two scoop” ice cream cone!